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Giving is the Most Natural Thing in the World

By Drs. Rick and Jan Hanson

page 2 of 4

The Vast Territory of Generosity and Giving
Consider how much of human life is spent in generosity and in giving (the former is a quality of being while the latter is an activity we do). You are generous and giving whenever you be or do in the territory these words point to:

Donate, grant, award, bestow, make a gift of, bequeath
Praise, acknowledge
Love, care, like
Sacrifice, relinquish
Devote, dedicate
Be altruistic
Forbear, restrain yourself for the sake of others

How about some concrete examples? You give whenever you:

Pat an arm in friendship, sympathy, or encouragement
Put money - or a banana or chocolate - in the donation bowl
Relax your position and open up to the viewpoint of another person
Offer anything out upon the internet or in a newsletter, etc.
Try to help someone
Wave someone ahead of you in line
Try to cheer someone up
Make a gift
Write a thank you note
Listen patiently when you'd rather be doing something else
Cultivate qualities in yourself that will benefit others
Change a diaper - at either end of the lifespan
Give some money to a homeless person
Express gratitude or appreciation
Volunteer your time
Tell somebody about something great

In particular, you are generous whenever you "give no man or woman cause to fear you" - in other words, when you live in a virtuous, moral way. The common ground of the major ethical or religious traditions of mankind contains five fundamental guidelines: Do not kill, steal, lie, intoxicate yourself to heedlessness, or cause harm through sexuality. Simply living morally is a kind of giving.

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March of Dimes
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